Cooperative Forces

Background, Precedents, and Problems

by Katharine Watkins Webb


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This Note was prepared as a background paper for a RAND conference on Cooperative Forces in the Third World, held on March 14-15, 1985. Cooperative Forces are Third World military units operating with a major power to advance mutual interests. The purpose of the Note was to provide conference participants with both a current and a historical context for discussion. The current context was framed by references to the George Shultz-Caspar Weinberger debate on the use of forces. The views of the secretaries of state and defense were set out, then used to evaluate the proposed Cooperative Forces. Accounts of mercenary forces in the 18th and 19th centuries, the French Foreign Legion, and British Gurkhas provided the historical context. Comparisons were made between these forces and the proposed Cooperative Forces. Information on United Nations peace-keeping missions, and comparisons of these forces with Cooperative Forces, were included in an appendix.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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